Programme 3.1 Commonwealth Grant Scheme

The objective of the Commonwealth Grant Scheme ( CGS) is to encourage people to obtain higher education qualifications that provide the skills that are needed in the new economy and will underpin Australia’s future economic growth and prosperity.

Through the CGS, the Australian Government subsidises tuition costs for higher education students across a wide range of discipline areas and qualification levels.

Currently the majority of CGS funding is provided to public universities for students enrolling in bachelor degrees. These are funded on a demand-driven basis. CGS funding is also provided for sub-bachelor and some non-research postgraduate student places.

Programme 3.1 components contribute to achieving the programme objectives through:

  • making a direct contribution to the cost of educating all domestic Commonwealth-supported students ( CGS)
  • providing additional funding to meet the higher cost of regional provision of higher education (Regional Loading)
  • supporting students to prepare for and successfully complete higher education through funding for enabling courses (Enabling Loading)
  • meeting medical workforce needs through the provision of targeted support for medical programmes (Medical Loading).

Performance information

There has been strong growth in expenditure under the CGS since the introduction of demand-driven system courses in 2012. Plans to expand the demand-driven system to other types of higher education providers will result in further growth in expenditure which will be managed through changes to the Commonwealth contribution rates. These changes are intended to achieve a better balance between Government and students in sharing the cost of higher education and ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme.

Table 12: Programme 3.1 Commonwealth Grant Scheme performance information

Provision of funding to higher education providers to support higher education student places

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of Commonwealth supported domestic undergraduate places 540,700 539,800
Number of Commonwealth supported domestic postgraduate coursework places 36,900 36,500
Number of enabling places 9,600 9,600
Number of Commonwealth Grant Scheme ( CGS) medical places 13,100 13,100
Number of regional campuses under the CGS for which regional loading is applied 47 47

Increased student participation in higher education

Key performance indicators 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of domestic enrolments (full-time equivalent) 696,000 693,310
Number of domestic postgraduate enrolments (full-time equivalent) 116,000 116,775
Number of undergraduate completions 197,000 194,480
Number of postgraduate coursework completions 110,000 107,887

The data is provided by calendar year (e.g. the 2013–14 data relates to the 2013 calendar year).

The Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 2013–14 Portfolio Budget Statements included a key performance indicator under this programme—‘Proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with bachelor degree of higher education (%)’. The indicator is reported in ABS Education and Work (6227.0) in November each year from surveys conducted in May each year.